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MG MGF Technical - Help! I think I'm being stitched up


I have just put my MGF VVC in for its 3 year service and first MOT. I have had it from new and have only done 16k. The dealer (SMC Uxbridge) have just contacted me to give me bad news! Apparently the tracking and suspension are out, I was asked if I had kerbed it which I definitely have not. Both front tyres which were replaced in August last year were paid for by Rover as my anti roll bar link snapped hence wear on my tyres. I cannot believe that I need another two new tyres after 6k. Is this right? I have also been told that my head gasket is leaking and that I will need it to be replaced at a cost of £405. Overall the shock of being told that I am now facing a bill of £877 is just too much. Can anyone advise me on what to do. I have had numerous conversations in the past with the lovely customer services department and I'm not sure if I can go through all that stress again. If anyone has got any advice for me I would really appreciate it.
Debbie Webber

What is the warenty period on a F, if its three years then they should do the head, as its a design flaw, as for tyres bad luck, fair wear and tear. If you are a member of the AA, RAC etc write a letter to them, or phone, also write to MR MG, the chap who bought the rover group, Towers asking for his help, before you pay any bills or agree to anything, kick up a stink. Good luck.

Head gasket is a known failure with the F. Get in touch with MG customer service (0345 642277 fax 01865 746937) and tell them your problem. They should either pay to get it done or pay a contribution to the cost.
6,000 miles from tyres is a joke. The tracking couldn't have been set up properly after the anti-roll bar was replace. Did the same garage do it? If so it should be on their records when they were replace so they should at least make some contribution towards the cost of replacement as it was their cock-up on the set up. Don't let them fob you off either.

I took mine for a service at SMC Uxbridge a month or two ago having bought it second hand from them last year. I too was told (amongst other things) I needed 4 new tyres and that the tracking was out. The tyres looked fine to me. Admittedly I haven't checked the wear properly on them, and the tyres probably weren't new when I bought it but given I'd only put 3000 miles on since then I can't believe it's all gone to pot unless they sold me them as illegal in the first place. I'm going to check them myself and replace them elsewhere if necessary.

SMC do have proper laser kit for sorting the tracking, with a print out so in theory they can't get it too wrong, but I'm not very keen on them (shan't be going back). They also told me that the tracking was almost as sensitive like a racing car and even driving carefully over speed bumps can throw it out. Basically inferring that if I'd driven it for a year, I should re-do the tracking.

If they previously replaced tyres and re-did the tracking they should have a print out to show it was done correctly.

As for the head gasket, it's painfully expensive to replace - £405 is in the middle of other quotes I've heard on this BBS (382, 567 were some others). I wouldn't muck about too much. Equally, I don't really trust SMC as you'll have guessed.

Others can probably offer you some better advice. Service time is usually painful for all of us.
Hope it works out,

The tyres and roll bar (and work associated) should be warranted for 12,000 miles and 12 months. Tyres should not wear after 6000 road miles unless your alignment is out. You'll have to keep complaining to Rover.

I have had numerous niggles fixed free of charge by writing a 'polite letter of disatisfaction' to Rover Customer services I even managed to get a 2 year extended warranty for free. Although the niggles are irritating I have always found the customers services very obliging.

Your head gasket problem should be fixed with financial help from Rover even if you car is out of warranty..

Good luck



SMC Uxbridge suck for service from the service manager down......


Matt - "SMC Uxbridge suck for service" So I've discovered!

They did get some new management towards the end of last year, but it doesn't seem to have made significant difference.

Thanks everyone for your comments and advise. I have now been told by the garage that my head gasket has blown and that I can't drive it away. This is a nightmare. I have contacted Mike Satur who I have to say has been really helpful and advised me that this is just not on and that SMC are giving me the run around. I have now spoken to MG Customer Services and explained my situation and grievance. They have told me that they are now looking at my case and will get back to me on Monday. So I'm without a car, stressed for the weekend and facing a £900 bill. Great! I think it's at the stage where I am going to sell.
Debbie Webber

Hi Debbie,

Have you seen Dirk's web site? He and many others have suffered from HGF's. Dirk has compiled a list which may be useful ammo if they become obtuse. This list has worked for people in the past.

You can find the list at:

You may also want to check out the archives, as there are tons of threads detailing peoples HGF's and how they got on.

Hope that helps,

Daniel Ginger


I bought mike's big brake disc upgrade and got SMC
to fit it as part of the service, they let me drive away when they hadn't tightened up the bolts holding
both front calipers on, enough said

There's been plenty of good advice here already, so I won't add anything myself. However, I would just like to say that SMC Uxbridge do not fair very well in the MG Dealer Guide I run on my website. For those of you whom are dissappointed with their service (or lack thereof) I suggest you check out the MG Dealer Guide for a suitable alternative.

Debbie, Seeking Mike Satur's advice was a good move by the way. I've never dealt with Mike directly, but he has always proved to be a reliable source when it comes to the F.

Home of The MG Dealer Guide and F'ers Gallery. :)
Paul Lathwell

If your garage suggests that the suspension going out and the tyre problems can only be through damage while driving is either lying, has never seen an MGF or is stupid.

Any MG garage must know that the tyres are prone to uneven wear on many F's. My car did it and the only way I have found to cure it is to use a toe in setting on the front wheels.

Many garages pump the car sky high to solve the problems, but this just messes up the handling. My personal view is that the Hydragas pressure can change between summer and winter causing the height of the car to change accordingly, by as much as 10mm. I think this means that you can never have the tracking within specification because the geometry keeps changing as the car goes up and down.

The head gasket, it is a known problem, we have some dispute as to how big a problem it is, I had one (three years since new) and I know others who have had one. On the other hand I know some long term F'ers that have had no problems in this area at all. My one was just over a year from new and has been ok since (touch wood). Because it was so new Rover paid to replace it.

After three years I'm not sure how Rover would react, they may not pay, worth a nasty letter or two, several emails and a few phone calls, they can only say no after all.

One thing I would do is change your dealer as it seems they cannot be trusted from what you say. You may just have to pay out the money to get the problem fixed (as they have the car hostage), just never go back to that garage again, and advise others to avoid them.

Paul L can point you in the direction of some good dealers on his web site (see previous :-) The biggest problem with the MGF is some (many :-) of the MG dealers are rubbish and cannot be trusted with your pride and joy.
Tony Smith

My current offer from Rover is for the parts but no labour on a 3 year old car with HGF. (Staying a bit anonymous as I think they should pick up a bit more of the tab). Good luck ;-)

Good luck everybody, and stop scaring me, don't want hgf.

re wheel alignment, 6000 miles seems a bit excessive, especially if they themselves had set the car up 6000 miles before. i have no doubt that the car is possibly slightly more fragile in the alignment front than some cars, but i also know that i have hit kerbs, pot holes etc and after 4 months of careless driving (about 6000 miles) i got the alignment re done and it had hardly changed, so it can't be that fragile. the people who seem to have suffered very low milage on tyres seem to be the ones with original settings and new cars, so i think theres reason to beleive that its not due to knocking the alignment out but problems with the original settings. i would keep on fighting on the tyre front and the HG aswell.

i also have a feeling that SMC might be loosing business.


Stay well clear of SMC Uxbridge. See my comments under Paul's MG Dealers guide. They did a supposed suspension check on my car which I subsequently found out had not been done. I also had some body work done - It too was a disaster. As regards the suspension - I don't trust any MG dealer and am off to Tech Speed in Coventry on Wednesday to pay them to set up my car. I will post the results on the BBS when I get back.
iain campbell


Thanks for the warning. I get the impression that I should definitely stay well clear of SMC Uxbridge from now on. I have had a good result from MG Customer Services and they have now agreed to pay for my hg to be replaced and they are also paying for the oil pressure guage switch to be replaced, so I a bit happier. It does show however that you should query these things I could have quite easily gone ahead and paid the £877 bill. As for replacing my tyres after 6k they still say that it is the tracking which has worn them out and that It was my fault. I am paying £40 to have my suspension pumped. Once the work is done my 'F' is out of there. I have been in touch with a place called Moto-build Racing in Hounslow who have advised me that I don't have to stick with Goodyear tyres and that I will probably feel a real difference on the handling once I get my tracking and alignment done properly somewhere else. I can only assume that last year when SMC put my new tyres on, highered by suspension and replaced the anti-roll bar link that they did not do the job correctly. Unfortunately its hard to prove.
Debbie Webber

Been there, suffered. Not only are the dealers crap, but after loosing several K as I was stupid enough to buy one new, I finally realised the cars are basically crap also.

So sold the thing, and bought something else.
Not appropriate to mention on an MG site, but it's german, very reliable hold it's value and incredibly has cost me less to service and maintain than the F.

My advice?. Get it fixed at their expense and get rid of it quick.
Educated by same Experience

A VW Lupo cannot be compared to an F

Don't be childish Jon.
Educated by same Experience

Yes some people buy bad cars and some cars do not suit some people. It sounds like you are bitter about your purchase and I'm sorry but I've had a great deal of fun in my F.
I do not consider myself as childish for my lame retort, I was just having a bit of fun with an obviously uptight person. Lighten up chappie!

I hope you are very happy with your choice but believe me all cars go wrong. Sods law says your car will now.

Yes, thankyou for that Jon.

Actually I am the least uptight person I know.

If you read all the above posts, and visit the sites mentioned, and read all the threads about the many shortcomings of the F, it is really quite apparent that the F is not a great car.

In fact I will say, and no doubt this will upset some people, if the F had been made by some other car maker, it would have been slated far more than it has been. The MG badge has "saved it".

How many relativly new models have so many after market improvements available. Face it they are not great cars in the MG tradition.

It is only the MG badge that allows them to get a way with it.

There is no excuse these days for a "bad car". Only bad design and manufacture, for whatever reason.

I am very happy with my old MGC, which I have had for 8 years and accept its limitations due to age and the fact that it was designed in another era. I wanted a modern version. The F was a disappointment.

The replacement is not.
Educated by same Experience

Go to all the other BBS sites and you will find the same thing.It is the nature of the place.

People come here for advice when things go wrong and speak of pleasures of ownership. It's obvious that on the most part the reason people need advice is because they have a problem. I'm sure your car, if it is a Z3 or a Merc has many problems associated with it and if you let me know what it is I will be only too happy to list them all for you.

I agree bad cars are not acceptable, but I disagree that the MGF is a bad car and I'm sure if you asked all the people who participated on this BBS they would have the same opinion despite their problems.


Hey chill Jon.

Your taking this WAY too seriously.

In fact it is neither of those you mention, and I have had no trouble with it whatsoever and I use it every day.

You are perfectly entiltled your oppinion, and obviously have deep enough pockets and endless patience such that you are not bothered by the inferiority of the F.

For myself, I'll stick to the C for my occasional toy, and the other for daily use.

The F's a wimps car anyway.
Educated by same Experience

Not worth bothering with.


Very wise.

Bye Jon.
Educated by same Experience

>>The F's a wimps car anyway. <<
Did you decide this before you bought the F, or after it gave you grief ?

Your remarks are relevant not because you may think the MGF's a bad car, but because this thread's about dealers.

BMW have the best dealer network in the country, with MB not far behind - and this is reflected in the perceived quality of the cars.
VW did badly in the last JD Power survey - not because their cars have become worse - but their dealers have.

I'm glad you've now got a reliable car - and hope that your dealer can keep it that way; you can bet that no-one wants an unreliable car.



They don't live up to the visual.
Educated by same Experience

In what respect? (Let's put the reliability to one side for a mo')

Handles well, performs better than similarly priced and engined opposition. Certainly, the performance data is all there to see in the sales brochures.

Not sure I buy the 'aftermarket' goodies comment. That there is a market for such stuff exists reflects the fact that people are willing to invest in their cars- and cherish them, rather than use them as a mere transportation from A to B.

Glad you enjoy the MGC (a much maligned car- even to this day) and have a good daily driver now.

Happy motoring

Rob Bell

headlampt been to the TT BBS and contrary to popular belief, they do also have problems. One guy has had 35 faults since new (and all in a car that retails for the bargain price of
David Lamas Loureiro

Aren't cars great.

I agree with the dealer point. i initially had a number of small faults with my car, but my dealer was brilliant so i wasn't bothered, this could have been different. now its down to the car not the dealer, i will always love it, even when it costs me loads.

glad i knew that i liked it before i bought it though, and didn't buy what i thought was a wimps car. nothing like a good test drive before buying a car just to make sure you like it. reliability you can't test before, but how the car drives you can. silly mr educated.


I never believe sales brochures. The proof is in the eating, or as in this case the driving.

Along with my other comments, I didn't find the F particulary satisfying to drive.

The C is, as is my other.

I shall say no more.

I agree with Einstein, who said that everybody has a point of view.
Educated by same Experience

to Shy: don't get ripped off by a stupid proposal that Rover pays the parts of a HGF and you the labour. Parts of a HGF must be around £15! All the rest (around £400-£500) is labour.

to Mr. experience: MGF is not a wimp car, everybody who sees mine is always very positive about it looks, but asa I start talking a bit about the reliability if it (if that exists!) most change their opinion quite radically.

MGF is standard sexy & goodlooking crap (not upto todays car industry standard from any point of view), but a good dealer can make a good compensation.
But if you have a bad dealer or a Monday-morning MGF (like I do it seems) then you're screwed for a lot of money.

Anyway, no more MGee for mee. Asa I can get & afford my target car (M3!) the F goes out asap, without any heartache, more with a feeling of relief! I won't hassle too much about the price, as long as I get rid of it I'll be happy.

M3. Yes, nice motor!

Sad man who won't tell what car he drives

Pray tell us what car do you drive, you're getting on all of our nerves.

Most of us don't care what car he has now. Why does it matter?
He was unhappy with his MG and bought something different. Why should that upset anyone?

Indeed people have been swapping MG of any type, Mainly for Lotus cars since the 60s.

Perhaps he's right F's are for wimps

Fair enough the drive might not impress you, opinions are good, but why buy a car that you don't like to drive.

my opinion

my first car, an F reg 1.3 astra swing was and is the best car ever. just thought i'd add tat for no reason whatsover.

not as if the threads going anywhere.

and if we all wanted f's wouldn't they be common.

1) I bought a car I didn't like driving(an F), and got rid of it when I realised that not only didn't I enjoy it, I found all the other things I mentioned unacceptable as well.

2)Why should I discuss the German replacement I bought on an MG site. I am not comparing it, I am saying that it's for me at least on all fronts far far better. I'm sure others would agree. But it's not an MG so let's not talk about it.

The MGC on the other hand, also gives me far more pleasure than the F ever could. It's great. If whoever finally ends up producing further MG models wants to make a great car, then a modern version of the C would get me buying one.

As regards common, F's are, I see loads in my neck of the woods. Course, a million flies eat ""!£"T, but I wouldn't.

All of this is of course just opinion. So to all those with heat under their collars.

Chill Baby.

Don get too heavy baby

I've had several C's all modified in some way to make them handle and perform better,Doug Smith @MG Motorsport is the guy to speak to about C mods,I do believe that they were one of the best cars Abingdon ever made,like the F they do benefit from mods to make them handle and perform better, for a long distance tourer a(modified) CGT is hard to beat,IMO.
mike satur

Had an Austin truck for bread delivery - wasn't that an MGC with a big body?

Also had an MGBGT - great tourer providing you wern't in a hurry.

At the end of the day you buy what suits you and if it does what you want then its a great car.

Ted Newman

Take the best bits of the B and the C, add some lightweight power and you have something a lot better than either IMO - a factory BGTV8
David Smith

So we're all agreed then.

Anythings better than an F

To Experienced(?)
If you hated the F that much why are you still lurking around this board?

I think my F's a great little car, yes I know people have had problems(some more than others) but I've had equally bad expensive luck with many other cars I've owned in the past and none of those cars gave me half as much fun!
I know everyone's entitled to their own opinions on their car - the world would be one hell of a boring place otherwise, so rave over and be grateful you've had no problems with the F replacement.

Surely the views of someone so morally weak that he cannot even post his name, are not worth considering. My money says he is now driving a Titty in a desperate effort to feel less inadequate!

>>I agree with Einstein, who said that everybody has a point of view.<<

Uh, with all respect to the absolute great Einstein, but was mankind / human civilisation really waiting for Einstein to come to such conclusion ? Isn't this simply a daily life experience. Just face what philosophy is all about: quite perception-related, isn't it: anyone has his proper interpretation / reflection about the issues which interest philosophy.

And, frankly speaking, it can be doubted wheter really everybody has a point of view on everything: Gide talked about the so-called 'acte gratuit', which regards acts which are performed by a person without any purpose / statement / motivation whatsoever. Those acts simply happen. You just perform these like that.

And isn't having a point of view on everything not a bit exhausting: always being required to take a stand on 1,001 issues, so to speak. Sometimes you're not interested at all in taking a position (for whatever reason, even time, personal taste & preferences) and therefore you even do not want to sacrifice time to even start to reflect about certain subjects & things (or is the initial non-interest in such event already understood 'having a point of view' ? I doubt so).

And finally, what about people who unfortunately lack the capability of generating a point of view on everything anyway due to an abnormal physical and/or mental state.

Just a point of view of someone ;-)


Experienced just who do you think your kidding?

I owned a “C” – it was a camel until major modifications made it driveable.

I currently own a “BGT” – having spent £9,000 on new suspension, stage two engine, uprated braking etc etc. it is now an exciting car to drive.

I also have the great pleasure of owning an “F”. Yes, in three years I have had problems with it, but from day one it was an exhilarating drive. It is a true sports car without the need for modifications. Having had four MG’s in the family the “F” is, IMO, a very worthy successor to those models that have gone before. In fact, it is a damn sight better than any of them.

By the way, if it is a Z3 you now own, I can understand your caution in admitting it. Having rented one in Canada for two weeks it was a great pleasure to hand it back to the rental agency.

I can only assume that your expectations from a car are primitive, but so what, you are entitled to a view.



There you go Patrick.

Luc. OK perhaps it should be that every one is ENTILTLED to a point of view.

As for anyone who is incapable of generating a point of view on any subject, well I doubt that anyone so lame brained is likely to be using a computer to look at this text or even driving a car for that matter.

This isn't really a big philosophical debate, I just happen to think F's are complete crap.

So what?

Sue, glad you like your F. Why should I, as an MGC owner and one time F owner not be entiltled to view and comment on this board. What are you a worried about.

Somebody up there says that C's are Camnels, presumabley his gave him the Hump. Boom Boom.

Am I crying? No. I don't care what anyone says, it's only a discussion.

So I suggest that all of you who are a little upset, should unclech your bum muscles and stop being such dick heads.

Purple haze playing in my brain,lately things don't seem the same, I bought an F but I don't know why excuse me while I kick this guy.


Paul Lathwell

You may be eneducated, but at least you have good taste in music.

Paul, if your bored with the the F don't just Yawn, sell it and get something that'll keep you awake.

Paul Lathwell

To Paul Lathwell, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom,

Your most recent comment was very interesting. Must have taken you ages to think of that.

This thread was discussed between 11/08/2000 and 23/08/2000

MG MGF Technical index

This thread is from the archive. The Live MG MGF Technical BBS is active now.